Hays UK jobs and employment blog


A UK labour market snapshot: will you be able to secure the talent you need?

By Gaelle Blake, Director, Hays Permanent Appointments, UK and Ireland 


The UK labour market has been transformed by the disruptive events of recent months, with heavy job losses in certain key industries dominating the overall picture. However, this is not the full story.

What’s the picture of the labour market?

The latest Bank of England August 2020 Monetary Policy report highlights that redundancies have predominantly been in certain sectors that have been hit hardest by lockdown, including airline carriers and holiday operators. The report also highlights that whilst job losses have been significant in these sectors, others remain candidate-short. Further to this, according to the ONS Labour Market August 2020 Survey, there are 113,000 more people in employment now than there were this time last year, and in July 2020 the number of people in work between the ages of 25 and 64 actually grew.

Therefore, employers should take into account that many of the ‘hard-to-find’ candidates they seek are likely still working, and in light of the present uncertainty, may not necessarily be looking to change job at the moment. As a result, it may in fact be more difficult for employers to secure the candidates they require compared to this time last year.

Do employers have access to the skills they require?

In this evolving landscape, hiring managers are on the lookout for professionals with the right skills to succeed in the new era of work. According to the Hays Career Insights Snapshot, which was published in July 2020, some of the top skills in demand include managerial and leadership, the ability to adapt to change and communication and interpersonal skills.

However, the report shows that 53% of employers have access to only some of the skills they need within their team to meet organisational objectives, whilst a further 13% have moderate skills shortages and 2% have extreme skills shortages.

Further to this, 43% of employers are now actively recruiting, a rise on May’s figure of 31%. This rise in hiring activity will likely increase competition for talent even further, making it harder to fill certain roles. As the Bank of England Monetary Policy Report states, “Variation in vacancy numbers are dispersed across sectors and could lead to a greater deal of mismatch.”

How can employers ensure they are securing the talent they need?

The working landscape is likely to remain subject to continuing evolution for the foreseeable future. As an employer, you should take the time now to assess the skills you need to achieve organisational objectives in both the short and the longer term. Looking ahead will be crucial to securing your talent pipeline, particularly in areas where competition for quality candidates is fierce, so putting a plan in place now will ensure you’ll have access to the talent needed to deliver on organisational changes or respond to market opportunities.

Engaging a recruitment partner such as Hays will not only help to keep you up-to-date on the hiring landscape so you can make the best strategic decisions for your organisation, but also provide you with access to the largest and most engaged database in specialist recruitment.

Our ‘Find & Engage’ strategy combines our long-established practice at building relationships within niche candidate communities with cutting-edge data science and search technology, enabling us to identify, connect and attract the highest quality candidates, both permanent and temporary, for any given role.

If you have any further questions or concerns about hiring in the current climate, please contact your Hays consultant. For additional resources on topics including onboarding remotely, managing hybrid or flexible teams and undertaking virtual interviews as we move forward, visit our Inspire Me in the New Era of Work hub.

About this author

Gaelle joined Hays in 1999, and in her time with the business, she has led dedicated teams providing expert recruitment services for a wide range of sectors and professions. In 2018, Gaelle started her current role as UK&I Director of Hays Permanent Appointments, where she works with 800 Permanent Appointments consultants across the UK and Ireland. She helps organisations to find the talent they need to achieve their goals, and help customers to find the roles they need to move their careers forwards. In July 2020, Gaelle was also appointed as UKI Director of Hays Construction & Property, leading the 300+ recruitment consultants in the largest specialist Construction & Property recruiter in the UK.


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